Last month at the terrific Horrible Imaginings Film Festival at least one film dealt with the familiar subject of a the bad person suffering in limbo or hell but unaware that this was indeed their fate. This is a well known plot done in prose, poem and on the both the big and small screen. For me this presentation prompted a thought about how utterly this is a comforting concept.
If there is a hell or some analog for those who do wanton harm to their fellow humans then there is a moral order to the universe. The existence of such a place means that there is no escape for those who would do evils upon the rest of us. Justice is not a lie we tell ourselves to make life bearable.
However the concept brings with it terrifying prospects. For there to be justice there must also be judgment and that implies not only a judge but also a code to be judged against. Many religions assert that they have unlocked the mystery of the code and the judge but by their very natures the answer must be taken on faith. There can be no proof of their claims, and it is possible no matter how pious your life that your actions violate the code and then hell is not just for those who are clearly evil but those for are mere violators of an unknown code.
So given that which is the more frightening cosmology; one with an alien judge and unknown moral code that may punish people for ceremonial infractions or one in which none of that exists leaving us in a universe without morality or meaning?
I am seriously thinking of tackling these questions in a serious of fantasy/horror stories.